The Misadventures of Johan O'Malley

The Misadventures of Johan O’Malley Chapter 8

“New York, New York!” I  sang

“Why do you have to loudly belt out that song every time we go to this city, Johan?” My mom asked.

“I’m practicing my theatre skills.” I had to if I wanted to be on Broadway one day. 

“Okay, well are you hungry? We can stop at a diner if you want some dinner.”

I was feeling a little hungry. Although I wanted to keep my lean physique for the girls at this program.

We stopped at a small diner on an empty road in Connecticut, where I got the late-night special meal, which consisted of a double stacked bacon, cheeseburger with onions, a side of curly fries, some chicken tenders, and a biscuit. I also ordered a shake because I figured it was like a protein shake just with ice cream instead.

“So, are you excited to start at Broadway Bound Dance Camp? You get to spend all summer living in a dorm and pursuing your passion.” 

“Can we please not talk about this right now, mom? I’m exhausted.”

My head started to feel fuzzy. The next thing I knew, my back was on something hard and uncomfortable and my body swayed from uneven movement. I woke up in the backseat of the car after that with boxes of my food right next to me. My mom swerved into another lane, almost causing me to fall off the seat. 

“What happened?” I asked. 

“You passed out sweetie, so I got your food to go and carried you out to the car with one of the waiters. Everybody in the diner laughed at you as we left.” 

“You know, nobody was forcing you to tell me that last part.” 

She just turned on the radio and started singing to her favorite song: It Happens Every Time by Dream Street. At least the song kept me awake. I had no idea why I kept passing out randomly. The vodka had to be out of my system by now. 

This time, I woke up in a plushy hotel bed and the sun was just peeking in through the blinds. I had to figure out why this kept happening. I also had no idea how my mom kept managing to move me from place to place. Maybe a hotel employee helped this time.

I slept most of the last few days. What made it worse was checking my notifications and seeing TONS of photos of Tory and Mike from the past week. They kept commenting miss you ❤ on every damn one. 

“Sweetie, before you start camp we have a doctor’s appointment,” my mom said, coming out of the bathroom with a hotel towel on her head.  

Before I knew it, I was in an office in a skyscraper in downtown Manhattan. The people below all looked like multicolored ants from this high up. 

Despite the cool view, the room itself felt depressing. Everything stark white and plain. I had to say, old man Dr. Grundl was nothing like hot Dr. Tootie in Maine. 

“Well, I have some good news and some bad news.” Dr. Grundl said.

I asked to hear the good news first because I needed a morale boost.

“Well, the good news is that it’s nothing serious. The bad news is that that’s because I don’t take this job seriously.” He then dropped his stethoscope and left. My mom and I waited in the same room for an hour before another doctor was able to see us. Apparently that guy didn’t even work there. He was just a man who camped outside the hospital and must have snuck in. The real doctors then came in and put me under anesthesia.The LAST thing I wanted was to get any more sleep. 

At least I thought I was put under anesthesia. Apparently the doctors drew blood to see why I kept losing consciousness, and the second I saw my own blood I passed out.

I woke up in a twin-sized bed in an empty room. I heard whispers from outside the room. It sounded like my mom and the real doctor. Apparently, The doctor THOUGHT I have low blood sugar and I need to double my calories intake daily, or else I might pass out even more. 

My mom thanked him and then took me to a buffet for dinner! She basically piled my plate with everything I hate in the food world. Fried this, greasy that and the kicker: a hot fudge sundae with extra whipped cream. It was safe to say I had about 3,500 calories in one meal. 

The good news was that I didn’t feel like going to bed. The bad news was I stayed up all night and had to be at dance camp by the crack of dawn. If only I didn’t start passing out because of my health food craze and drinking binge. New York had already started out interesting and I had only been in the city limits for a day. 


“Johan, how are you feeling?” my mom asked when she woke up.

“I didn’t sleep at all,” I mumbled.

“That’s great news! I already called your dorm advisor and she promised that you would be watched closely all summer and have all your meals monitored.” Damnit, I thought. I would be the laughingstock and I hadn’t even moved in yet.  

Before checking out of the hotel, my mom stared at me while I ate brunch. When she said I had enough, we entered the quintessential yellow taxi and sped off toward 54th and 8th avenue, the location of my summer dance program. 

The dorm was so close to Broadway that I practically squealed. Arthur and my mom spent a fortune sending me here, but I told them that I wanted to be on Broadway as a dancer, so they let me apply. Even after years of classes, I was surprised that I got into the eight-week intensive program. Doing well gave me my best shot at getting into the Boston Conservatory Dance Division at Berklee. I had my sights on a B.F.A in Commercial Dancing before moving to Manhattan to make my Broadway debut. 

“Wow, I can’t believe we’re here,” my mom said, taking in the view of the skyline from my double dorm room. Everyone had to share a room with one person. Only 26 students were accepted into the incoming senior program. The students going into other years of high school were separated into different floors and classes. 

“Yeah, I can’t believe orientation starts today.”

My mom helped me carry all of the clothes and personal items that I’d need for the summer. The program provided us with a comforter, pillows and sheets. Besides the basics, all I had to set up was my photo of Mohammed, Mike and I at Six Flags New England, my laptop and a poster of Les Misérables: my favorite musical. This small space would be my home for most of my summer and I had a feeling things were about to get interesting. 

14 thoughts on “The Misadventures of Johan O’Malley Chapter 8”

  1. Johan’s mum has great taste in songs.

    The contrast between her and her son – Johan’s taste in songs…

    We do reveal a lot by our earworms, I do believe.

    And now Johan’s dream is beginning to become solid.

    A comforter is like a blanket or a duvet or even a quilt?

    Vodka does take *quite a while* to get out of one’s system.

    [Teenage and young adult men chugging it through their livers and kidneys and other vital organs]…

    Remembering Dr Tooie in Maine – the one who our Johan had so tried to seduce and distract with his wiles.

    [chapter Two? chapter Three?]

    Oh my God! Was that a hangover meal?

    What a grease trap this plate is. J’s cholesterol would be rebelling stat!

    3500 calories – 8700 kilojoules give or take a few hundred. [for the sundae – they are much too delicious to be decent especially in that flavour].

    [that is an average adult diet for someone who is moderately active! J is not sedentary I know that…

    and dancers and athletes producing kilojoules in five figures…]

    And I can see J at Berklee. Read a lot about their teaching programmes in the last few months because there are things you can learn in the Berkshires which are essentially like nothing else.

    I like J’s sense of dormitory decor.

    I wanted to have more of a feel of the diner – it is a very transitory and liminal place.

    And this diner is in NEW YORK!

    Half of me wants to say: “O’Malley – your Mum has been moving you from place to place for nearly two decades and you still don’t know!”

    The other half of me wants to yell at the doctor about low blood sugar.

    And I think of the Victorian College of the Arts secondary division when we learn about J and the students.

    [Essentially in that institution – there is visual art like sculpture and painting; performing art like dance and acting; film; theatre; multimedia].

    [that place also has university/tertiary study].

    Commercial Dancing – I see J is leaving his options open.

    [and then I think of the young Madonna in Michigan under her mentor Christopher Flynn and how she learnt modern dance from Pearl Lang and performed in I NEVER SAW A BUTTERFLY].

    Question for the readers: if you were on a desert island and you could only have one unit of Johan’s meal, what would you have?

    For me it would be the tenders – they are a mix of texture and protein.

    And the decor list: Mohammad is in the picture with Mike and Johan?

    Or was he separate?

    [something about the placement of the commas – and if I were to make a list like that – semicolons would be my friend. Or I would write it in dot points].

    * Six Flags photograph
    * Les Miserables poster
    * laptop

    Then I end up wondering how much Arthur kicked in…

    [J’s Mum I can understand the investment – she does have a measure of “getting” this side of her son – even if it is risky reputationally and financially].


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